Macedonia: TEDxSkopje Attracts Attention Online

Participants who spoke after it, consider the first TEDx event in Macedonia a great success. The one-day conference organized independently under license from American nonprofit TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) enabled widening the range of publicly discussed topics and inspiring at least one hundred participants to work on positive change.

As reported [MKD]:

The first “idea sharing” is over. You could follow the TEDxSkopje conference via live video stream, or read about it on Facebook or Twitter. In case you missed them, the videos will be published on the TEDxSkopje website.

The conference was quite successful. The realization was excellent, minus small technical glitches which were quickly solved. The selection of the speakers was interesting, with various topics composed into two segments. The first part focused more on technology, while the second part focused on education, motivation and inspiration for creation.

The live video stream had almost a thousand viewers from all over the world, mostly from Macedonia, curiously followed by France and the U.S.A.

The rules of the event prohibited photographing and recording, except by designated official photographers. One of them, Martin Dimitrievski, posted a short video about the event.

As previously reported by GVO, a controversy arose online after some of the would-be participants did not receive confirmations of their applications. Much of the tension was defused thanks to the willingness of the volunteers who served on the organization committee to openly discuss the issues with the public through a group interview [MKD] conducted via the aggregator

After the event, the online discussions did not die, with praises from the participants broadcast via Twitter and on the Facebook profile, and some ‘ok, we got it, get off your high horse’ comments by others [MKD]. In a funny twist, one of the most persistent interlocutors during the preparation phase, Zuberot, even ‘received’ a photo comics [MKD] in which Steve Jobs and Bill Gates ask each other whether they attended the event, and conclude that at least they've heard he, Zuberot, did.

On a more serious note, Novica Nakov, one of the volunteer organizers, wrote [MKD] on his blog about the discrepancy between the online interest for TEDxSkopje and another project he takes part in – creation of the National Free/Libre and Open Source Software Policy [MKD] through inclusive, citizen-centric process:

TEDxSkopje and the National FLOSS Policy can't be more different.

The first is a private initiative, mainly supported by private entities (except the Youth Cultural Center). It is not exclusive, there can be others like it. It is not very relevant in the wider context of Macedonian society – besides the idea that TED-style presentations can raise the level of public debate, there's not much to it. Still TEDxSkopje has been almost entirely and constantly under the watchful eye of the (Internet) public […]…

The second is a public initiative, includes the Ministry of Information Society, Metamorphosis Foundation and Free Software Macedonia as implementers, as well as all stakeholders from universities and the business sector. Making such text is one-off thing. There will be no second version next year. If adopted, it will be a very important contribution to building the information society, especially regarding the transparency of ICT policies of state bodies, and their communication with all of us. The Policy can help shaping the future ICT development in this country and, if successful, it would be a great topic for some future TEDx talk. However, it remains below the radar of the online public (even though they were invited to join a number of times).

To this, add the fact that the people determined to post about all TEDxSkopje missteps are educated enough to contribute to the National FLOSS Policy, and you'll realize why I write this.

But, since I am an economist, I will remind you that people are selfish. “One's own benefit above all” – and it seems that many people think TEDxSkopje has something to do with their own benefit.

Finally, as a TEDxSkopje organizer, I can say that in spite of all that traversed, I feel flattered. But as someone who will need to submit an annual balance-sheet to the Central Register, I feel obligated to remind you that the chance to push standards and openness in e-whatever with the state is still open to all of you.

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